Victor Gischler

Spirits of Vengeance 1 (December 2017)

Spirits of Vengeance #1The world is coming to an end and only this ragtag team of Marvel supernatural characters can stop it. Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider. Blade the Vampire Hunter. Damian Hellstrom the Hellstrom. Satana Hellstrom the scantily clad.

Sadly, Spirits of Vengeance does not read like a tawdry seventies comic (and looks less like one). Instead, it’s just a by-the-numbers setup issue with Johnny searching down Hellstrom. David Baldeon’s art is so slick it’s like he’s doing marketing materials for a Disneyland ride, not an end-of-the-world horror comic.

Writer Victor Gischler keeps it moving–a little too fast, the end is hurried–and tries to get in occasional personality moments. But, in the end, it’s just another bland modern Marvel comic; wish they knew what to do with their supernatural characters. There’s got to be something better than this Vengeance.

CREDITS

War at the Gates of Hell, Part One; writer, Victor Gischler; artist, David Baldeón; colorist, Andres Mossa; letterer, Cory Petit; editor, Chris Robinson; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Order of the Forge 3 (June 2015)

The Order of the Forge #3It’s the end of the Forge, but hopefully there will be more adventures of “tubby” Benjamin Franklin and “dick” Paul Revere and “loyal to the King” George Washington as they fight supernatural evil before the American Revolution.

Gischler has a lot of fun, as usual with the comic, but it’s hard for it not to seem rushed. Reading the first two issues of the series, it felt like it at least needed five parts. Instead, it gets three and the ending of this issue–which plays like The Goonies finale–isn’t enough.

The issue opens abruptly and–besides a kiss between George and his lady friend, who gets so little character development I forgot her name–closes with a bad action sequence. Besides the girl and (tubby) Ben Franklin, Bettin draws everyone about the same. So you’ve got four lookalikes having a fistfight.

It’s still amusing, just way feels abbreviated.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; colorists, Bettin and Enrica Eren Angioliniletterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Order of the Forge 2 (May 2015)

The Order of the Forge #2The Order of the Forge continues to be an unabashedly awesome comic book. Gischler manages to be remarkably restrained–even as he tells the story of George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin like it’s The Avengers or Harry Potter, he manages to be aware of the line between awesome and too much. It’s not a deep comic at all, it’s just an expertly done shallow one.

This issue has the three getting superpowers–Forge is way too amusing and way too great a concept for there to be no movie option hopes, but–once again–Gischler errors on the side of caution. It’s a comic book first, with Bettin’s art very aware of the medium.

And the story’s just good. There are nice complications for all the characters, there’s a good female protagonist and even the biggest Washington fan would never believe he as cool as Gischler writes him.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Order of the Forge 1 (April 2015)

The Order of the Forge #1There’s really no other way to say it.

Dude, The Order of the Forge is some kind of Star Wars hero’s quest–updated with more modern vernacular and R-rated interests for everyone–starring George Washington, Paul Revere and Ben Franklin.

And, dude, it’s awesome.

Writer Victor Gischler seems to know exactly what he’s got and exactly what he’s doing–historically accurate, full of supernatural mumbo jumbo, father-son issues, friendship issues, Ben Franklin being too busy whoring to discovery electricity–it’s simultaneously reverent to historical figures and full of piss and vinegar.

Piss figuring into the story as well.

And Tazio Bettin’s art is perfect. He handles the proper stuff just fine and he handles the action really well. The historical setting is nice looking when it needs to be and ominous when it needs to be.

It’s awesome. Gischler knows what he’s doing and is enthusiastic about it.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 5 (December 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #5Bettin’s art is a little broad for the finish, which has Sally in a “normal” future environment. She and Tommy make it into safe hands, a huge underground society started by the college professors who knew nuclear war was coming.

Most of the issue has Sally hanging out with the female security chief, though Gischler does get in an action packed conclusion. It all seems little familiar–a little Aliens, a little Terminator, a little Planet of the Apes–but the mix isn’t bad. And the issue, even with Bettin getting lazy as the comic goes on, isn’t bad at all. It’s rather good.

It just doesn’t have an ending for the series. Gischler goes with a big cliffhanger, which sort of leaves Sally adrift. He’s not leaving it open for a sequel or setting up a sequel, he’s cutting out before the story ends. It’s frustrating.

But rather good.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer and editor, Tom Williams; publisher, Titan Comics.

Clown Fatale 4 (February 2014)

295927 20140212173654 largeThe last issue of Clown Fatale reads like the big showdown at the end of an eighties action movie with the lead clown in the Stallone role. Amusingly, Rosenzweig draws a Punisher stand-in with Stallone’s nose.

But there’s only so much to the comic. Gischler gives it a somewhat open ending without begging for a sequel. He spends maybe a fifth of the issue getting to that end point. The rest of it is just the blonde clown beating up the bad guys. Gischler writes really good dialogue for the fights, he plots them really well. Even if he manages to execute them better than a mainstream comic, it’s still just a lot of action.

But he and Rosenzweig have enough humor and enough solid character work in those actions scenes they appear to be more. The approach isn’t deceptive, it’s just a masterful use of an extending genre.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; penciller, Maurizio Rosenzweig; inker and colorist, Moreno Dinisio; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Clown Fatale 3 (January 2014)

293594 20140116131225 largeGischler doesn’t appear to be writing for a sequel series, which is both good and bad. Good because he’s taking this series on its own, bad because Clown Fatale is so much fun.

It’s bloody and hard too. Gischler is apparently out to shock the reader into detachment, then bring him or her back in with some great character moments. The ninja girl seducing the dimwit carny is awesome; especially since Rosenzweig bakes in the sight gags so well.

The issue does open with a strange flashback to a crime boss meeting. It’s strange because–while it does have to do with the story–it doesn’t matter enough to spend pages on it. Maybe for next issue?

There’s a good cliffhanger, there’s good character stuff, Fatale is just a good comic. Gischler really knows how to hang onto what’s funny while still edgy. The comic is always fresh, always surprising.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; penciller, Maurizio Rosenzweig; inker and colorist, Moreno Dinisio; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Kiss Me, Satan 5 (January 2014)

23085I’ve never found Ferreyra’s art to be one of Kiss Me, Satan’s selling points. Gischler’s lunacy was always its brass ring. This issue, however, the art is what makes it work. There’s some good lunacy–Gischler seems to get how to use magic in a violent action story. With actual wonderment no less. But his final reveal is a little predictable.

Only it looses Ferreyra. After four issues of action scenes, Ferreyra finally gets to do the big werewolf battle and he does a great job with it. There are two or three fantastic double page spreads this issue, with Ferreyra moving the action across them. Just wonderful energy.

As for the story? Sadly Gischler doesn’t really have an ending, so he combines a few traditional noir ones. There’s no painful series setup, though they could easily do a sequel.

It’s a good, solid comic, which is just fine.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Juan Ferreyra; colorists, Eduardo Ferreyra and Juan Ferreyra; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Kiss Me, Satan 4 (December 2013)

291534 20131218104308 largeI wish Gischler would just take his time. It’s a good issue–lots of nice developments, brisk pace–but in his rush, he leaves out a lot of things he could expand on.

This issue doesn’t just have more information on lead Barnabus Black, it has some comic moments with his angel boss and some funny narration. Gischler overcooks the narration–apparently intentionally to make it feel a little noir–but this time he lets it get humorous. It makes the read much more enjoyable.

And, since one is enjoying him or herself while reading the comic, the reader doesn’t want it to end too soon. Gischler does even worse and skips over to the bad guy and then some other bad guys. He doesn’t focus.

Ferreyra’s art is fine. There are some good moments, some less good. He can’t handle the dramatic scenes as well as the action ones.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Juan Ferreyra; colorists, Eduardo Ferreyra and Juan Ferreyra; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Clown Fatale 2 (December 2013)

290852 20131215235145 largeThis issue of Clown, Gischler goes for out and out absurd, profoundly sad and some other things. It’s a joy to read, even if the sad moments drag in some reality. Gischler’s not willing to write off the series as fluff; he’s trying to give it some actual content. Except that content is never as good as the funny stuff.

The big fight scene at the end of the issue, involving Russian assassins masquerading as a circus knife throwing troupe, a gorilla, a lion, how is it not going to be funny. The least funny thing, for the most part, are the clown fatales. The crazy one–whose name either didn’t get mentioned this issue or just doesn’t matter–is Gischler’s go to for comic relief. She works real well.

The other characters… Well, Gischler makes a show of developing them, but he’s not trying too hard.

Clown’s crazy pulp.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; penciller, Maurizio Rosenzweig; inker and colorist, Moreno Dinisio; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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